Australia’s Wacky Festivals

By Jessica | April 12th, 2010

beercanregattaBooking a vacation package to Australia, especially when you’re traveling from North America, definitely makes life easier. It’s on the other side of the world, and although there isn’t a language barrier for English speakers, it’s still much simpler to book a package trip and not have to worry about doing a bunch of travel research. Until, that is, you stumble upon an article about crazy sporting festivals around the world and you find yourself mesmerized by videos of a bog snorkeling championship in Wales, a wife-carrying race in Finland, and the “Redneck Games” in Atlanta. It doesn’t take long to realize that two of the competitions listed are in Australia – and that’s when you start thinking the package trip might not be the best option after all.

Sometimes when you’re planning a vacation, you just pick a vacation package and let the people who organized it tell you what the best things to do and see in each destination are. It’s one of the more effortless kinds of trips you can take – and that can be quite relaxing. But if those are the only trips you take, your travel slideshows and stories begin to look an awful lot like everyone else’s – which is why throwing in an oddball trip now and then is so much fun. And what’s more oddball than a crazy competition?

The first crazy event in the article – the Beer Can Regatta – is in Darwin, Australia, a beach city on the northern coast of the country. This boat race happens every summer, but (as you can probably guess from the name) the point of the race isn’t so much the racing or the winning as it is the part about building a boat out of empty beer cans. A festival has grown up around the regatta, and any annual event like this is a great opportunity to see a town at it’s finest – when it’s come out to play.

portlincolnThe second Australian festival on the list has the improbably wonderful name of “Tunarama.” It takes place in Port Lincoln, Australia every year on Australia Day (January 26th), and – as the name suggests – it involves tuna fish. What do they do with tuna fish in this fishing town on the southern coast? Why, they throw it, of course. This tuna-throwing competition has become a very big deal in Australia, drawing tens of thousands of visitors and serving as the grand finale of a 5-day festival.

In the end, might it be easier to book a package trip to Australia? Perhaps. But when it’s easy enough to find cheap flights to Australia, great hotels in Sydney and any other city throughout the country, book short flights to get from place to place or rent a car or campervan and make an adventure out of it – then why wouldn’t you do that? Your dinner party stories will be the most interesting ones, you can count on that.

photos, top to bottom: kenhodge13, feral arts

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